Secondary - Interschool 2023

High Risk Activity

  • Consult Risk Management.
  • This activity page must be presented to the activity provider prior to the activity taking place. The activity provider must meet the minimum requirements listed on this page. For more information on planning trips using outside providers, consult Outside Activity Providers.
  • Consult curricular Fitness Activities and curricular Weight Training when involving participants in weight training and/or training and fitness development activities.


  • Determine that all equipment is safe for use (for example, no sharp corners, cracks, or splinters). Students must be encouraged to report equipment problems to the coach.
  • Protective equipment must not be altered (for example, cutting a portion off the back of mouth guards).
  • Shell inspected before each outing (for example, check for holes, cracks, loose hardware).
  • Shell must have bow-ball in good repair.
  • Bow and stern buoyancy compartments must be securely closed with water-tight hatches.
  • In practice sessions, each shell must be equipped with a signaling device and a watertight flashlight.
  • In all shells the foot stretchers, shoes or other devices holding the feet will remain in the shell, each shoe or device shall be independently restrained to limit heel lift to a maximum of 7 cm for each shoe or type of foot gear fitted to the shell. In addition, where laces, velcro or similar materials must be opened before the rower can remove their feet from the shoes or other device, all such materials must be able to be released immediately by the rower with a single quick hand action of pulling on one easily accessible strap. Where shoes or other devices holding the feet will not remain in the shell, each shoe or device must be able to be released by the rower without using their hands or with a single quick hand action of pulling on one easily accessible strap or release device.
  • Must have navigation lights attached if used after sunset or before sunrise or in periods of restricted visibility, as specified in the Transport Canada Safe Boating Guide.
  • Oars must be checked for splinters and cracks.
  • Riggers and oar-locks must be secure and operate freely.
  • Steering lines must be secure and operating correctly.
  • Regattas are required to be sanctioned by Rowing Canada Aviron and meet all sanction requirements, as governed by the provincial Sanctions Officer.
  • One coach boat must be motorized and equipped as per Transport Canada's Safe Boating Guide requirements. Examples:
    • One CSA approved personal flotation device (P.F.D.)/lifejacket of appropriate size for each member of the coach boat
    • paddles
    • bailer
    • watertight flashlight
    • signaling device
    • motor in good repair, with sufficient gas for entire session
    • 23m (75’) floating rope
  • Coach boat engine must be running before crew leaves dock.
  • A reboarding device is required where the vertical height that a person must climb to reboard the boat from the water (freeboard) is over 0.5m (1’8”).

Refer to the First Aid section for first aid equipment requirements.


  • Appropriate clothing and footwear must be worn.
  • A dry change of clothes must be available on shore.
  • Coach boat occupants are required to wear personal flotation devices (P.F.D.) while on the water at all times.
  • The wearing of jewellery during practices and competitions must meet the rules of the governing body of the sport/activity, OFSAA, and local athletic association. Consult the General Safety Standards for Clothing, Footwear, and Jewellery when jewellery is not addressed by the governing body of the sport/activity, OFSAA or the local athletic association.
  • Long hair must be secured. Devices (for example, hair pins, elastics and barrettes) used to tie back long hair must not present a safety concern.
  • Students must not participate when the length of fingernails poses a safety risk to themselves or others.


  • Determine that all facilities are safe for use. Students must be encouraged to report facility problems to the coach.
  • When using an indoor rowing facility or a rowing club, the rules and Codes of Conduct of that facility or club must be followed.


  • Must have posted walking traffic pattern with hazards identified (for example, keep to right, dock slippery when wet).
  • Coach must be aware of the site’s Emergency Action Plan (EAP), including the site specific rescue plan, and share with all supervisors and participants.
  • Keep spectators out of boat launch area and high boat-traffic areas.

On the Water

  • Constantly evaluate the practice/competition area addressing issues as they arise (for example, pulling out deadheads or alerting crews to avoid areas if there is debris).
  • Coach must inform students of debris.
  • Be aware of water currents, especially those created by rapids and waterfalls.
  • All practice and competition sites must not include rapids and waterfalls.

Environmental Considerations

  • When environmental conditions may pose a risk to student safety (for example, thunderstorms [lightning] or student(s) with asthma, triggered by air quality), coaches must take into consideration their school board/school’s protocols and procedures related to:
    • environmental conditions (consult Weather); and
    • insects (for example, mosquitoes and ticks [consult the school/school board’s protocols and/or regional Public Health Department’s website]).
  • Students must receive instruction on safety procedures related to environmental conditions and be made aware of ways to protect themselves (for example, sun burn, heat stroke).
  • At all times the school board’s weather and insect procedures are the minimum standards. In situations where a higher standard of care is presented (for example, outside activity providers, facility/program coordinators), the higher standard of care must be followed.
  • Before involving students in outdoor activity, coaches must take into consideration:
    • water conditions (for example, temperature, currents, tides and wave conditions).
    • visibility of 500m (1640’) is required
  • Follow cold water rules specific to the rowing facility.
  • Coaches/supervisors must be aware of weather forecasts, especially wind conditions, temperature of the day, potential for thunder/lightning and fog conditions.
  • Rowing must be cancelled in adverse conditions (for example, first sign of white caps).
  • If stormy weather approaches suddenly, seek appropriate shelter immediately.
  • Daylight rowing only.

Special Rules/Instructions

  • Be aware of students whose medical condition (for example, asthma, anaphylaxis, casts, previous concussion, orthopaedic device) may affect participation. Consult Medical Conditions.
  • Prior to participation students must receive concussion information through the appropriate Ministry of Education’s Concussion Awareness Resource or the school board approved concussion resources. Students must also receive information on:
    • the Concussion Code of Conduct;
    • concussion prevention strategies specific to the activity and inherent risks of the activity (that is, outline possible risks and ways to minimize the risks);
    • procedures and rules for safe play; and
    • the importance of reporting symptoms related to a suspected concussion.
  • Students must confirm their review of the concussion awareness resource and Concussion Code of Conduct prior to participation.
  • Refer to school board policies and procedures (i.e., transportation, excursion/field trip) for communication with parents/guardians, the location of an off-site activity, means of transportation, supervision ratios, and parent/guardian permission.
  • Previous training, fitness level, and the length of time and intensity of physical activity must be taken into consideration.
  • Activities must be based on skills that are taught.
  • Skills must be taught in proper progression.
  • A proper warm-up and cool-down must be included.
  • Fair play and rules of the sport must be taught and strictly enforced.
  • Adequate liquid replacement (personal water bottles, water fountains) must be accessible for students before, during, and after physical activity to prevent dehydration.
  • Students must be informed that they are not to share water bottles.
  • Parents/guardians must be informed of the school board’s policy related to initiation/hazing activities.
  • The presence and location of spectators must not present a safety concern. A school is responsible for supervising its own spectators. The ratio of supervisor to spectators must address safety concerns.

Emergency Procedures

  • Site specific rescue plan must be devised and shared with all supervisors and participants.
  • All instructors must be knowledgeable of the established safety and capsize procedures. Instructors must outline these procedures to rowers and coxswains.
  • Students must receive instruction on safety procedures, use of equipment and rowing techniques prior to initial practice.
  • Students must be instructed to remain with rowing shell and oars for flotation and visibility purposes if an accident occurs.
  • Should a shell swamp (take on water), rowers are not to attempt to swim to shore but stay with the shell using it as a flotation device and follow these steps:
    • Crew numbers off and removes feet from shoes. Remain in place if possible.
    • Make distress signal.
    • If necessary, crew enters water in pairs from middle of shell, buddy up across shell.
    • Coxswain buddies with stern pair in a stern-loaded coxed shell or bow-pair in a bow-loaded coxed shell.
    • Swing oars parallel to shell to increase flotation.
    • Unless rescue is imminent, move crew to bow and stern and roll shell over (fin up) with the wind. Crew should lie across hull, as far out of the water as possible, in pairs, holding on to the other person.
    • Coach boat distributes P.F.D.'s on arrival and conducts headcount.
    • Coach boat shuttles rowers to nearest shore. DO NOT overload coach boat.
    • Conduct headcount on returning.
    • Recover shell.
  • In case of an emergency, a pre-determined return route must be established.
  • Procedures must be in place to ensure accountability for all shells and coaches and athletes on the water at any given time, in case of an emergency.


  • All activities must be supervised.
  • The level of supervision must be commensurate with the inherent risk of the activity. The level of risk is related to the number of participants, the skill level of the participants, the type of equipment used, and environmental conditions.
  • On-site supervision is required.
  • Coach in motorized boat must be within 500m of crew during all on-water practice sessions.
  • As a minimum the designated coach liaison will provide in-the-area supervision for all practices, games, and competitions.
  • When a school team is travelling outside of their school district, a coach liaison from the same school/school district must accompany the team, must be accessible and at least one of the following criteria must be in place:
    • coach liaison is visible;
    • coach liaison is circulating on the same site;
    • location of coach liaison is at the same location and whereabouts is known;
    • if a coach is a high school student and under the age of 18, the coach liaison must be visible at all times.
  • Consult school board and local athletic association rules and regulations with regard to coach and coach liaison duties and adhere to the higher standard of care.

Refer to the Swim Test section for the swim test supervision ratios.

Supervision Ratios for Instructional Time

  • Beginner rowers: 1 coach per 9 students
  • Experienced rowers: 1 coach per 18 students

Refer to the definition of Instructional Time.


Refer to the Swim Test section for the swim test aquatic instructor qualification requirements.

  • Operator of coach boat must have Pleasure Craft Operator Card.

Coaching Qualifications

  • Game/match official(s) must be certified and/or experienced in officiating the sport.
  • The head coach must demonstrate knowledge of the sport, skills, and strategies to the principal or designate.
  • All coaches must meet with the head coach of the rowing club (if applicable) prior to the start of the season and be in communication throughout the season.
  • All coaches must be familiar with and implement, where applicable, the criteria outlined in Coaches Expectations.
  • At least one coach must possess one of the following coaching qualifications:
    • NCCP Competition Coach – RCA Coach Course
    • Accreditation as a NCCP Rowing Learning Facilitator
    • Completion of rowing NCCP level 1 and/or level 2 certification in the past
    • Attendance at a clinic or workshop within the last three years provided by an instructor who is knowledgeable of the activity (for example, appropriate skills and progressions), and where safety is addressed as outlined in the Ontario Physical Activity Safety Standards in Education
    • Past experience within the last 3 years as a coach in rowing, having knowledge of the activity (for example, appropriate skills and progressions) and current safety practices as outlined in the Ontario Physical Activity Safety Standards in Education.
    • At least one coach must possess experience within the last three years as a coach in rowing, having knowledge of the activity (for example, appropriate skills and progressions) and current safety practices as outlined in the Ontario Physical Activity Safety Standards in Education.
  • For more information on sport-specific NCCP training please visit

Refer to the Swim Test section for the swim test lifeguard qualification requirements.

First Aid

  • A working communication device (for example, cell phone) must be accessible.
  • An individual who takes responsibility for providing first aid to injured students through the entirety of a practice and/or competition and must follow the school board’s concussion protocol and the school’s First Aid Emergency Response (consult First Aid Plan and First Aid Emergency Response).
  • The individual who takes responsibility for providing first aid to injured students must:
    • as a minimum, have a current first aid certification from a recognized first aid provider (for example, St. John Ambulance, Red Cross) that includes CPR B or C and training in head, neck and spinal injury management;
    • be in the area and readily accessible during the entire practice/competition;
    • be aware of the school's first aid emergency action plan and follow their first aid emergency response (consult First Aid Plan and First Aid Emergency Response);
    • follow their school board's concussion protocol for a suspected concussion; and
    • not be a participant in the activity.

Swim Test

Swim Test for Watercraft

  • Prior to the activity, students must successfully complete the following swim test in its entirety, in sequence and without any aids or stops:
    • rolling entry (backwards or forward) into deep water at 2.75m (9’) minimum depth
    • tread water for 1 minute
    • swim 50m (164’) continuously any stroke
    • demonstrate the ability to put on a personal flotation device (P.F.D.) while in the water
  • The test must be administered by a certified aquatic instructor or a certified lifeguard (the test is based on the Lifesaving Society’s Swim to Survive™ Standard).
  • The swim test must be completed within the school year in which the activity is taking place.
  • In lieu of completing the swim test, students may provide proof of Bronze Star certification or higher.
  • Results of the swim test must be documented and communicated as per school board policy (for example, to the student, teacher, principal, parents/guardians, trip guide(s), lifeguards, aquatic instructor, and outside provider [if applicable]).
  • Students who do not pass the swim test or who do not have the aforementioned certification must not participate in the activity.

Clothing/Footwear/Jewellery for the Swim Test

  • Appropriate swimwear must be worn.

Aquatic Instructor Qualifications for the Swim Test for Watercraft

  • An aquatic instructor must possess both an aquatic instructor certificate and a lifeguard/assistant lifeguard certificate that are dated not more than two years prior to the date on which they are required to instruct and lifeguard. If the aquatic instructor does not hold a lifeguard certificate or an assistant lifeguard certificate, a certified lifeguard must also be on deck during the swim test.

  • Aquatic Instructor Certificates:

    • Lifesaving Society - Instructor Certificate
    • YMCA - Instructor Certificate
    • Ontario Teachers Aquatic Standard (OTAS) - for pool situations only
  • Verified copies of certification must be available in the swimming area.

Lifeguard and Assistant Lifeguard Qualifications for the Swim Test for Watercraft

A lifeguard/assistant lifeguard must be 18 years of age or older and possess a current (the date on the certificate must not be older than two years) lifeguard/assistant lifeguard certificate issued by one of the following organizations:

  • Lifeguard Certificates:
    • Lifesaving Society – National Lifeguard – Pool/Waterfront
    • Equivalent certificate approved by Minister of Health and Long Term Care
  • Assistant Lifeguard Certificates:
    • Lifesaving Society - Bronze Cross
    • Equivalent certificate approved by Minister of Health and Long Term Care
  • A student may not act as a lifeguard/assistant lifeguard if they are participating in the activity.
  • Lifeguard certification is the only acceptable standard in a waterfront scenario.
  • Verified copies of certification must be available in the swimming area.

Supervision Ratios for the Swim Test for Watercraft

Pool Swim Test

  • There must be a minimum of 2 certified aquatic instructors or lifeguards on deck or in the pool.
  • Supervision ratio is 2 certified aquatic instructors or lifeguards per 1 to 50 students.
  • In situations where there are 51 to 75 students, an additional certified aquatic instructor or lifeguard is required.
  • If assistant lifeguards are used, the number of assistant lifeguards on deck may never exceed the number of lifeguards.

Waterfront Swim Test

  • There must be a minimum of 2 certified aquatic instructors or lifeguards at the waterfront or in the water.
  • Supervision ratio is 2 certified aquatic instructors or lifeguards per 1 to 25 students.
  • For every additional 25 students, an additional certified aquatic instructor or lifeguard is required.


  • Coach:
    • Any individual approved by the principal or designate (consult Coaches Expectations). All new coaches must go through an approval process by school administrator/designate to determine the coach’s knowledge, experience and, where appropriate, qualifications (for example, higher risk sports) to safely coach the sport.
  • Coach Liaison:
    • A teacher, principal, or vice-principal with a current certification from the Ontario College of Teachers and under contract by the school/school board. Consult Coaches Expectations for more information.
  • Instructional Time:
    • Instructional time is defined as time during which there are organized activities or instructions. Examples of instructional time are lessons, events, practice, and games.
  • Personal Flotation Device (PFD):
    • According to Canadian Red Cross, “A Canadian approved PFD is designed to keep you afloat in the water. PFDs were designed for use in recreational boating and are generally smaller, less bulky and more comfortable than lifejackets. They have less flotation than lifejackets, and have limited turning capacity, but are available in a variety of styles and colours.”
  • Supervision:
    • The vigilant overseeing of a sport for regulation or direction. All facilities, equipment, and sports have inherent risks, but the more effectively they are supervised, the safer they become.
    • The Ontario Physical Activity Safety Standards in Education designate three categories of supervision, Constant visual supervision, On-site supervision, and In-the-area supervision. The categories take into consideration the risk level of the activity, the participants’ skill level and the participants’ maturity. The three levels of supervision described are not hierarchical but represent the type of supervision that an activity requires and the type of supervision that is inherently possible.
  • Types of Supervision:
    • Constant visual supervision:
      • The coach is physically present, watching the activity in question. Only one activity requiring “Constant visual” supervision may take place while other activities are going on.
      • For example, during a track and field practice, some students are involved in high jump, some in relay, and others in distance running. For high Jump, the coach is at the event and is observing the activity.
    • In-the-area Supervision:
      • The coach could be in the gymnasium while another activity is taking place in an area adjacent to the gymnasium. In-the-area supervision requires the coach to be readily accessible.
      • For example, In-the-area supervision occurs:
        • in activities in which students may be out of sight for periods of time and the location of the coach is not nearby (for example, alpine skiing, cross-country running). At least one of the following criteria must be in place:
          • The coach is circulating
          • The location of the coach has been communicated to students and volunteers
        • in single activities and those that may be combined (for example, other in- the- area activities such as badminton, table tennis, handball – wall) with the following criteria in place:
          • The coach must be circulating between the activities and readily accessible
          • The coach informs the students of the location of the activities
    • On-site Supervision:
      • Entails coach presence but not necessarily constantly viewing one specific activity. Momentary presence in adjoining rooms (for example, equipment room) to the gym is considered part of “on-site supervision”.
      • For example, during a track and field practice, some students are involved in high jump, some in relay, and others in distance running. For the relay, students are participating on the track/field and can be seen by the coach.

Fri, 08/25/23 09:52 am

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